Monday, May 12, 2014

Automotive Technology honor graduate Jeremy Davies will pursue an automotive engineering technology degree at Ferris State University in Michigan. 

Honor Student Graduates Debt Free with Automotive Technology Degree



                                                                             (By Lisa Garrett)

           PENDLETON --- Jeremy Davies isn't the type to sit still and let a good opportunity pass him by.

          He looks forward to a challenge and being productive. For the past two years he has maintained a hectic schedule, attending automotive technology classes and labs at Tri-County Technical College during the day and then moving on to a job at BMW where he puts in an additional 20 hours per week as one of the company's technical scholars.  He maintains a near-perfect 3.95 grade point average and serves as vice president of Alpha Zeta Beta, Tri-County's chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa national honor society. 

          He holds another distinction that most of today's college graduates can't claim. When he walks across the stage May 8 as one of the College's first automotive technology graduates, he won't be saddled with loans.  He is graduating debt free, thanks to a Tri-County scholarship, as well as a prestigious Marine Corps Foundation Scholarship he accepted last year. 

          He says the Sue Lawrence Gignillat and Thomas McCutchen Gignillat Scholarship he received through the College's Foundation his first year opened the door to his future.  "The scholarship made the first step in my journey possible.  This scholarship not only sent me to college in the short term but opened up my future to endless possibilities based on my education."

          The Foundation scholarship, coupled with lottery tuition assistance, the BMW Scholars tuition allotment and paid internship and the LIFE scholarship, paid for his first year of college. His second year of school was paid for by the Marine Corps Foundation Scholarship fund.  He and three other individuals were recipients of the General William L. (Spider) Nyland Honorary Scholarship, named for the former Scholarship Foundation Chairman.  Davies is the son of the late veteran LCpl Peter L. Davies, USMC, who served with the First Marine Division.  Last spring Davies attended a reception in New Orleans to receive the scholarship and he addressed a group at the Scholarship Foundation's meeting. 

          He said in his remarks, "I have always looked up to the qualities my father had, the values that were instilled in him by the United States Marine Corps.  Two weeks before I was to begin my freshman semester at college, my father passed away. I will always remember my father, a true American. This scholarship has provided a massive relief in this time of great hardship for our family. General Nyland, thank you for your contributions to this country and making it possible for me to attend college and accomplish my dreams. It is my hope that I am able to accomplish something as worthy and amazing as 37 years' service in the United States Marines.  There are no words that can express the gratitude I feel. Without the aid of this scholarship, my future would seem a lot less promising. Thank you so much to all those who made this possible."

          "It was a standout moment in a difficult year.  It was a real motivator and a vote of confidence," he said. 

          "This year has been challenging but fulfilling," said Davies, who was offered a full-time job at BMW after graduation but chose to further his education and will pursue an automotive engineering technology degree at Ferris State University in Michigan. 

          His career goal is to work as an engineering technologist and pursue a master's degree on down the line. "I want to participate in the design of cars.  But my ultimate goal is to be successful.  I want to change the world in the way we look at cars through safety, decreasing automobile deaths and performance.  Tri-County has provided me with hands-on and book knowledge that I couldn't have gotten anywhere else in the Upstate," he said.

          "Whether students in the Automotive Technology program go to work following graduation or continue their education, like Jeremy, the career opportunities are endless," said Danny Stovall, program coordinator.  "Cars have changed so much in terms of technology so there is a huge need for trained technicians today.  Our curriculum prepares you to go to work at a dealership and or a local auto repair shop."  Currently, there are 41 students enrolled in the program that combines classroom and laboratory teaching.  "I see our program continuing to grow," said Stovall.

          "There's no better education than doing," said Davies, who always saw Tri-County as an option after high school, but it became his first choice when he discovered the College offers an automotive technology degree.

          The Seneca High School graduate saw the automotive technology curriculum brochure at the Hamilton Career Center and was instantly interested in enrolling in the two-year program offered at the Pendleton Campus.  Another advantage is that classes are close to home, he said. Last year he was among those chosen as BMW Scholars, the workforce development program that allows selected students to attend class full time while working part time at BMW.  The program allows students a chance to pursue their education, gain necessary hands-on experience and become viable candidates for positions at BMW.

          His experience as a reworker at BMW has been an education in itself, he said.  "The degree and the BMW job have complemented each other.  BMW offered me a job after graduation but I opted for a four-year degree.  I would have jumped at the job, but from day one, I said I want to get my bachelor's.  I'd love to go back to BMW after graduating from Ferris."

          His pace hasn't waned as the semester winds down.  He recently earned four Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certifications in engine repair, engine diagnosis, automotive electricity and manual transmissions and drivelines. "I want to finish strong," he said.

          He also hopes to graduate from Ferris with little or no debt. He has secured a transfer scholarship, along with a grant and work study assignment.  He's applied for a renewal of the Marine Corps scholarship, as well as a Buick Achievers scholarship.

          "It's no fun if it's not a challenge," he said, adding that the most difficult aspect about his schedule this past year has been time management.  "It's been hard, working and going to school.  I live in Seneca so the commute to BMW was one hour one way.  It's been a test of will but I knew what I was doing was too good to throw away."  

          "Jeremy is an outstanding student. He has a great personality and has worked very hard to get to this point," said Trent Hulehan, automotive technology instructor.  "I am very happy to see him graduate as one of our first graduates and I know he will succeed as he continues on with his schooling for a degree in automotive engineering technology."



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